OCTOPUS Ahoy! won thousands of hearts during the public art trail and has now cemented its legacy by raising thousands of pounds for charitable causes at auction.

All 27 large sculptures and a handful of smaller ones went under the hammer at auction and the sales raised a total of £52,000.

The funds will be split evenly between Essex Community Foundation and the Tendring Community Fund to make sure the popular event secures a legacy.

Art lovers flocked to Le Talbooth, in Dedham, to bid thousands of pounds for the incredible works of art which have gone down in local folklore.

Renowned auctioneers Reeman Dansie conducted the auction, through online bidding and a live auction.

And the funds raised will ensure the Octopus Ahoy! art trail will be causing waves in the Tendring and Essex community long after the memories have faded from the event.

Katie Skingle, director at KAT Marketing, which orchestrated the campaign, said: “We are so pleased with how much was raised tonight for two very worthy causes.

“Tendring’s great and good came out in full force to support us and whether that was online or in person we appreciate every single bid and every single pound raised.

“This marks the start of Octopus Ahoy! legacy and we are eternally grateful to Tendring Council and every single business that became an Octopus patron, or bought one to give them forever homes.

“We’ve enjoyed seeing all the smiles it has bought. Well done Tendring!”

The Keef octopus sculpture sold to Pickerings for £5,000 while Ahoy M’Hearty sold for £5,000 to LDP.

Flying High was snapped up for £5,000 by Paul Milsom, who also successfully bid for Take Me to the Banksy and Eight of Spades, while Suki Dulai bough Sedna for £3,700.

Clacton Pavilion owner Billy Peak was also successful in his bid for Octopirate, which was designed by artist Deven Bhurke.

The community of Thorpe-le-Soken clubbed together to buy the Alien octopus sculpture by professional artist and former Harwich resident Sue Guthrie.

Village councillor Dan Land said he was delighted to buy the sculpture.

He said: “Someone in the village mooted just last week that we should club together to buy one.

“We drummed up support on social media and CJ the Octopus Ahoy mascot came down with us and we paraded the sculpture outside the school and shook some buckets.

“I want to thank the community of Thorpe for digging deep to raise some money - we’re not quite sure where he’ll be located, but it belongs to the whole village.

“The children will be delighted to see it - we love our Alien.

“In due course we’ll name him.”

The Octopus Ahoy! art trail was in place over the summer holidays.

It was created to celebrate 150 years of Clacton and the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower which was captained by Harwich’s Christopher Jones and took the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World.

During the community art project, octopus hunters walked more than 22 million steps and the sculptures were found more than 103,000 times.